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The Science That Spans #MeToo, Memes, and Covid-19

the science that spans #metoo, memes, and covid-19

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Network science’s underlying theory predates the internet, but social media’s rise was an important cultural innovation that implored the need for a science of how people are connected. And while there are myriad fun and interesting questions about the way that people interact, few have been more pertinent than how social movements are born.Take this year’s #Hashtag Activism, for example, in which Brooke Foucault Welles, Sarah Jackson, and Moya Bailey use network science to uncover the growth of social media activism.Foucault Welles, an associate professor at Northeastern, says that network science “lets us distill vast, chaotic online communication data down to its essence” and “pull out important themes, people, and events for close reading.” This intersection with big data is critical: that it can extract patterns from terabytes of social media interactions strengthens the reach of its conclusions—the findings aren’t about how a small set of users behave, but about aggregate behavior.The approaches highlighted in #Hashtag Activism can reveal fundamental principles of social movements that apply to the digital activism movements of recent times. From a network of activist narratives built from quantitative and qualitative data, Foucault Welles describes how, “in #MeToo, …

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A beloved Jamaican beach is succumbing to climate change. It won’t be the last

a beloved jamaican beach is succumbing to climate change. it won’t be the last

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Climate countdown

Jamaica

Climate change is eroding beaches all over the Caribbean – even though the region contributes a tiny fraction of the emissions heating the planet

Hellshire beach, Jamaica, in 2008. The beach has largely disappeared since due to erosion.
Photograph: Zickie Allgrove/Getty Images

Sunbathing mothers keep an anxious eye out for children enjoying horseback rides, as groups of young men engage in energetic games of beach football and cricket. Further along, a boombox blasts as the smell of fresh fish wafts across the shoreline.
For years, this was the scene at the Hellshire Beach in Portmore, St Catherine, on a public holiday or weekend when Jamaicans and visitors alike would flock to one of the island’s most popular beaches. Today, however, parents no longer bring their children. The horses, along with most of the beachline, have long disappeared and the few visitors who come to Aunt Merl’s or Prendy’s on the Beach – two of the few remaining seafood restaurants left standing – are confined to the benches inside.

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Covid-19 expert Akiko Iwasaki fights a different virus: sexism in science

covid-19 expert akiko iwasaki fights a different virus: sexism in science

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Even for one of the most high-profile virologists in the midst of the pandemic, it was not an event that will be easily forgotten.
For nearly 10 hours on a recent Saturday, Akiko Iwasaki was feted at a virtual gathering celebrating her 50th birthday and the 20th anniversary of her Yale lab. Former and current colleagues showered her with gifts, reminisced about outings to bars, Six Flags, and campsites, and answered trivia questions (her favorite color is purple — Iwasaki is a huge Prince fan).
But at about hour eight, the festive mood turned solemn. During toasts from her mentees, who thanked her for counseling them on how to respond to critics, Iwasaki shared how she’s still fending them off herself. She said a retired male professor, who was a former chief of surgery at a different university, had recently berated her in an email over a paper she wrote in Nature Medicine that called out toxic principal investigators in academia and charted how to dismantle hostile workplaces.
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“He told me that my kind of attitude … was ruining the lives of young men,” she said, adding that this person also wrote that Iwasaki’s suggestions could have ruined the careers …

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How do candidates for the 4th District want to tackle climate change?

how do candidates for the 4th district want to tackle climate change?

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How do candidates for the 4th District want to tackle climate change?

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Updated: 10:51 PM EDT Oct 26, 2020

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***TOSS TO WEATHER*** **WEATHER** ***ED*** The holiday season … may have an unusual scent this year. ***MARIA*** We’ll explain, coming up. **PKG** (Open with music – this never changes) (Voice Over – this never Voice over: @ :06 “Now, Commitment 2020: Questions for the Candid ates” (Voice Over – changes with race) Voice Over: @ :52 “We asked the candidates for the Fourth Congressional District” (Voice Over – changes with each PKG) Voice Over: @ 1:58 “What steps do you believe are most necessary to deal with global climate change?” **WIPE** **SOT** (AUCHINCLOSS: 5:43 We’ve got to invest in green R&D, green infrastructure and green jobs. That means putting a price on carbon. That means asserting muscular federal oversight over protecting our clean water and our clean air provisions and updating those laws for the 21st century. And that means making significant investments from the proceeds of that carbon tax into green infrastructure projects. And here in Massachusetts, for example, that could look like electrifying our commuter rail system. Turning it into a true regional rail system that would benefit southeastern Massachusetts and other …

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Frisco 14-year-old wins national award, earns respect of science community

frisco 14-year-old wins national award, earns respect of science community

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Life lately for Anika Chebrolu, 14, has been managing the hundreds of interview requests worldwide, calls from scientists, and a recent offer from a college.

FRISCO, Texas — A Frisco teen is making a name for herself after winning a prestigious national award for young scientists. 

Anika Chebrolu, 14, won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge and a $25,000 prize for a discovery that could open the door for a possible therapy to COVID-19.

Chebrolu first came across the in-silico method for drug discovery, which uses software and databases instead of lab testing, in the 8th grade at Nelson Middle School in Frisco. She quickly pivoted from researching influenza to researching the molecule that could inhibit the protein behind COVID-19 for her 3M competition.

“Stopping that protein, we’ll be able to stop the virus from entering and infecting host cells which makes it a very effective drug target,” Chebrolu said.

The molecule she found is more than 50 letters long. She wanted to wait to publicize the name of the molecule until she had an opportunity to do more testing.

Chebrolu said she also loves creating art pieces and performing in Indian classical dance. But lately, her attention has been on the competition and managing the …

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Harvard students and alumnae mentor girls in science

harvard students and alumnae mentor girls in science

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In normal times, the clubs meet once a week at seven K-8 schools scattered throughout Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston. Mentors like Brown and Cooper lead activities and experiments. Junior mentors, made up of eighth through 12th graders, assist the older mentors, who are college students or STEM professionals. The program has student volunteers from Bunker Hill Community College and University of Massachusetts, Boston as well.
Due to the pandemic, the club has halted in-person programming and moved online. Students and mentors are being mailed lab kits for experiments. Topics during sessions have included chemistry, astronomy, physics, and include experiments like dissecting owl scat, digging through dirt, or learning about the body’s circulatory system.
Last spring at the Amigos K-8 school in Cambridge — one of two locations where Harvard students mentored last year — elementary pupils learned how static electricity works by having a balloon rubbed on their heads and working with circuitry.
“It’s fun. We often hear a lot of screams,” said Bertolaet, the organization’s executive director.  “One of our mentors said one of their favorite things was the screams of disgust and delight. There are so many girls who are just screaming, ‘I love this!’ and that’ …

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Can scientists take the STING out of common respiratory viruses?

can scientists take the sting out of common respiratory viruses?

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University of North Carolina School of Medicine scientists have made a curious discovery about a well-known human protein that helps the immune system fight viral infections. The lab of Stan Lemon MD, and colleagues found that one class of viruses actually requires this protein to infect cells and replicate.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research reveals an Achilles heel of rhinoviruses, which account for as much as 70% of common colds and acute wheezing episodes, and likely account for tens of billions of dollars in health-related costs each year in the United States. There is no effective anti-viral treatment.
“We found that a large proportion of these rhinoviruses, particularly the ones that cause severe disease, need a human protein called STING to make copies of its RNA,” said Lemon, professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology at the UNC School of Medicine. “We don’t know how or why; we’ll have to study this further. But our work opens the door to a new strategy for controlling infection of these pesky and at times very dangerous pathogens.”
Viruses are relatively simple bugs able to infect human cells and then replicate to cause diseases from the common …

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Do electric vehicles have an impact on climate change?

do electric vehicles have an impact on climate change?

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David Kelly, academic director of the Master of Science in Sustainable Business Program, believes electric vehicles will help the environment but may not be the most efficient solution.

Several years ago the idea of city streets filled entirely with electric vehicles might have seemed far-fetched. Today, mass proliferation of these automobiles has shifted from fantasy to reality. A growing number of them are crossing intersections, and several governments, like the U.K. and France, have already pledged to phase out traditional combustion engines. 
Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom went a step further. He signed an executive order that said all new cars and trucks sold in the state must be zero-emission by 2035. In the weeks leading up to the announcement, dozens of unprecedented wildfires tore through California, pushing the state to the frontlines of the battle against a warming climate. Newsom said he was “advancing a strategy to address [the climate crisis] head on.”
While 15 years may seem like plenty of time, there are still many obstacles and outstanding questions before the future of transportation goes fully green. 
One of those outstanding questions is: Does an electric vehicle mandate actually help address a warming climate? David Kelly, professor of …

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